More Filipino Nurses Now Going to UK than US

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 MANILA — More Filipino nurses have been leaving for the United Kingdom than the United States over the past three years as immigration policies continue to impede demand for foreign nurses in America.

Emmanuel Geslani, a consultant of several Manila-based recruitment agencies, said Filipino nurses were finding it easier to seek employment in the United Kingdom via the study-and-work program introduced by the British health service four years ago.

“Filipino nurses hoping to work in the United States may have to wait five to seven years for H1-B working visas and two to three years for EB-3 immigrant visas before they can enter the U.S., while those interested in improving their academic qualifications can enter the U.K. under the study-and-work program,” Geslani said.

He cited statistics released by the UK Borders and Immigration Agency showing that the annual average number of Filipino nurses who went to the United Kingdom reached 7,000 from 2007 to 2009.

By contrast, there was an annual average of less than 300 registered Filipino nurses entering the United States from 2003 to 2009 using H1-B work and EB-3 immigration visas, data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show.

Among countries, Saudi Arabia has received the biggest number of Filipino nurses, with an average of 8,000 deployed yearly. The POEA figures show a yearly average of 13,000 nurses deployed to various countries including the United States, Geslani said.

“The opening of study programs that include on-the-job training (OJT) for Filipino nurses has been a blessing for the more than 300,000 unemployed licensed nurses in our country, with the glut increasing each year with more than 100,000 graduates each year,” said Geslani, a former vice president of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters and a recruiter for the past three decades.


 

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